SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — You’ve got to love the variety of winter sports played on such contrasting surfaces: hardwood, indoor track lanes, jumping pits, throwing circles, wrestling mats and the slippery ski slopes. January is now in the rearview mirror but its final week was thrilling and featured sensational encounters in all the aforementioned realms. Some basketball teams punched their tickets to postseason play by acquiring the requisite number of wins. Other sports featured high-intensity encounters that were forerunners of coming championships.
Boys basketball: Sullivan West, 9-4, will head to the Big Dance by dint of beating Tuxedo 50-47. The Dawgs were led by Matt Cardona’s 17. After two consecutive one-win seasons, this was cause for celebration. Livingston Manor clinched at least its share of the Division VI title with a 73-45 win over Roscoe. The 7-4 Wildcats nearly upset Monticello, 4-7, as they fell 54-52. Tri-Valley, 8-5 (3-2), beat Chester 49-42 in a league clash and then went on to beat Family School 47-14. Fallsburg’s record is now 9-3 (6-1), following a 73-39 league win over Eldred, 4-7 (1-5).
In girls basketball, undefeated Tri-Valley, 10-0 (4-0), completed a season sweep of Chester with a 49-42 win. Mareena DiMilia led the Lady Bears with 14 points and 17 rebounds. T-V went on to beat Family School 47-14. Monticello, 7-5, defeated Sullivan West, 2-9, by the score of 68-19, led by Shamira Moore’s 17 points. The Lady Panthers also beat Liberty, 4-8, by the score of 51-29. Fallsburg, 7-5 (2-3), beat Eldred 55-31. The Lady Yellow Jackets are now 4-6 (2-4). Livingston Manor looks to be a lock to win Division VI. The Lady Wildcats defeated Family School 36-6 and got a big 32-28 win over Tuxedo.
In wrestling, Eldred-Fallsburg defeated Chester 54-28 in a Division II-B clash but lost a 53-33 non-league tussle against Highland. Sadly, Eldred junior Jesse Corcoran (220) broke his leg in a tournament in Marathon. Tri-Valley won a 39-35 league encounter over Tuxedo. Liberty lost a 30-16 league match to Burke and a 48-12 non-league encounter with Ellenville. Defending Section 9 champion Andy Martinez (182) easily won his match. He is undefeated against Section 9 opponents. Port Jervis easily downed Monticello 60-30, as Bret Sauschuck (145) picked up his 100th pin of his career, making him one of only three current Section 9 wrestlers to hold that distinction.
Area skiers worked to gain a sharper edge as they hurtled down Holiday Mountain and Belleayre Mountain this week. This was the last trip to Belleayre this season. Sectionals will be held at Hunter Mountain on February 14.
Monticello senior Sean Reuss will be heading to Division I-AA University of Maine to play football in the fall. Reuss, considered by many to be the best tight end in Section 9 on both sides of the ball, will receive a full scholarship worth $45,000 per year to play for the Black Bears.
In indoor track, several divisions held their championships this past week. In Division III, Monticello’s boys placed third. Shane Jackson won the 55 in 6.75. The Monties also won the 800 relay in 1:35.67. Garrett LaPolt won the shot put with a heave of 47-8.85. Liberty’s girls came in second to Marlboro in Division IV. Zaira Pabon won the high jump with a mark of 4-0. Rebeccah Harman took the triple jump with a leap of 32-5.75. In the boys Division IV meet, Liberty placed third. Mike Hinton won the shot put with a throw of 43-10.
Stay tuned for much more as the Division V track championships featuring Sullivan West, Tri-Valley and Eldred unfold along with more key clashes on the hardwood, mats and the slopes. Visit www.sportsinsightsny.com  for daily stories and albums of pictures.